Governor’s Budget- Higher Education- Montana, US

Higher Education

The budget for higher education proposed by 24th Governor of Montana. In Montana Bullock is looking to serve another 4 years as governor. He presided over the largest increase in public school funding in Montana history. He worked with the Montana Education Association-Montana Federation of Teachers. It is the union that represents public school educators and thousands of other public employees, to pass bill it amortized and saved the retirement plans of educators and public service employees.

With college tuition across the country consistently rising, students and working families are being pinched. In partnership with the Montana University System, Gov. Bullock proposes to freeze in state tuition for the next two years. That keeps funding relatively flat from the 2017 to 2019 biennium.

Montana will expand the performance-based funding in the MUS budget. In the current biennium, the MUS allocated five percent of its state appropriations through the performance-based funding targeted at increasing student retention and graduation rates.

The state of Montana participates in four medical student exchange programs to produce physicians, dentists and veterinarians through affordable access that would not otherwise be available in Montana.

The budget proposes roughly $194 million a year to be appropriated by the Montana Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education. Deputy Commissioner of communications for the Commissioner’s Office, Kevin McRae said that the allotment allows campuses to serve their students.

McRae said that “we view this funding as one that is very fair to higher education.” Whatever, since costs are still going up and funding is flat, the university system will need to make up the difference one way or another, pending change by the Montana Legislature.

McRae also said that “If that level of funding were the outcome of the legislative session, in the next time The Board of Regents in Montana would have to decide either to raise tuition or make reduction in programs and services.”

The Montana Legislature has appropriated funding for higher education that has allowed freezing tuition for more than six years at the four-year campuses.

McRae also said that too many factors are still up in the air to speculate on how high a tuition increase the board might entertain. He said that tuition in higher education goes up faster than the consumer price index.

He said that, If the governor, Legislature and regents had not made decisions that ended up allowing a tuition freeze in past biennium, the university system would have needed to increase their tuition by 10% each year. Also said that the proposal from the governor’s office is fair all around to the higher education needs of the state.

The Commissioner’s Office points out that UM are spending a historic amount of money per student and its funding is at a record high level.

 

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